Hold on tight, Sacramento. We're heading into a really big month for beer.
The 2018 edition of Sacramento Beer Week runs May 10-20. The event previously was held in March, a date that some thought was too close to San Francisco Beer Week. The new spot on the calendar hopefully will be a boon for attendance, from both locals and out-of-towners.
Meanwhile, numerous beer pairings, dinners, tap takeovers and other sudsy celebrations already have been announced. Check out the list of happenings at sacbeerweek.com
May also should see the opening of several highly anticipated breweries and bars. Among them: Urban Roots, Alaro Brewing in the old Rubicon space; Burgers and Brewhouse; Fusion Taps in Folsom; the Track 7 restaurant in East Sacramento called The Other Side; and the Ol’ Republic tasting room in Rancho Cordova.
But before we get too tied up making plans for May, let's take a look back at what has opened in the past few months. Here's a rundown of some of the new kegs on the block:
Red Bus Brewing
Red Bus Brewing only opened in February, but Untappd users already rank it among the top 10 Sacramento-area craft breweries.
Erik Schmid built the brewery adjacent to his longtime Folsom brewing supply store The Brewmeister, and while the beer list largely reflects his love of traditional European styles such as lagers and bocks, Red Bus also turns out some excellent hazy and West Coast IPAs.
What the tasting room lacks in outdoor seating and a kitchen, it makes up for with foosball and food trucks.
802 Reading Suite A, Folsom; (916) 467-7790; www.redbusbrew.com
Out of Bounds Craft Kitchen and Biergarten
Arguably the most ambitious brewery expansion of 2018, this enormous restaurant brought the beers of Rocklin-based Out of Bounds to Folsom.
With multiple bars, tons indoor and outdoor seating and a menu that goes beyond the typical brewpub fare, the $3 million establishment, which opened in late March, already has been enjoying large and festive crowds.
13407 Folsom Blvd., Folsom; (916) 357-5250; www.outofboundsbrewing.com
Hop Gardens Taproom
This long-in-the-works Curtis Park beer bar, which opened April 12, already is making a bid for possessing the best tap list in town, its offering are right up there with Final Gravity, Capital Hop Shop, Canon East Sacramento and nearby Pangaea Bier Café.
Interestingly, the list comes across as less locally focused others, instead leaning on excellent out-of-town breweries like Barebottle of San Francisco and Burgeon of Carlsbad.
The family-friendly taproom took over the space that previously was the Coffee Garden, and puts the large back patio are to good use.
2904 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 476-3889
Asian Brothers Brewing
One of the most original breweries in the area, this newcomer operates out of the Anh Hong restaurant on Florin Road in South Sacramento.
Asian Brothers creates Hmong, Laotian and Vietnamese styles, with a focus on light, crisp, food-friendly brews like pilsners and lagers.
The brewery owners also run restaurants in Sacramento, Oakland, Chico, Berkeley and Fresno, and the plan is to sell Asian Brothers beers at those establishments.
Four dollars buys you a pint, while a tasting flight that is more than enough for two people costs only $10.
4800 Florin Road, Suite B, Sacramento; (650) 533-5221; www.asianbrothersbrewery.com
Knee Deep in controversy
In the surest sign that Knee Deep is indeed the biggest fish in the local craft brewery pond, entertainment conglomerate Sony recently deemed the company successful enough to sue.
Despite an apparently amicable relationship between Knee Deep and the studio behind the TV show "Breaking Bad," the Auburn-based craft brewery was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit over its IPA called Breaking Bud.
The Sony lawsuit stands in contrast to the collaborative, share-everything nature of the craft beer world, a spirit typified by the way that the progenitors of the new-fangled Extra Brut IPA style seem more interested in sharing their knowledge than in hoarding and copyrighting it.
As the Sacramento beer scene matures, we can only wonder if other craft breweries might meet a similarly litigious fate.
Track 7 has produced a Kool Aid-themed sour beer called Oh Yeaahh; Device cans its Curious George-branded Curious Haze for release; and Flatland has made numerous copyright-baiting puns with its “murky” Northeast-style beers (Murk McGwire, Murk Diggler, Sir Murks-a-Lot).
No word yet on whether "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan is rightly embarrassed by this ridiculous lawsuit.
Daniel Barnes is a freelance writer, film critic, beer enthusiast and one half of the blog “His & Her Beer Notes.” He can be reached at email@example.com.
Editor's note: This article was updated April 27, 2018, to provide the correct first name for Red Bus Brewing owner Erik Schmid.